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Last Updated 23.07.2024 | 10:52 PM IST



From Bawaal to Pippa: 10 film titles that told us nothing about the movie

en Bollywood News From Bawaal to Pippa: 10 film titles that told us nothing about the movie

A film’s title is everything: it tells you something about a film’s content, theme, message or story. Since cinema began in the world, every title has said a lot about what the audience can expect from a film. Often, for that, Hindi filmmakers had to resort to English words or phrases. On the other hand, the producers’ association began giving the rights of any title only for 10 years, after which they have to be renewed. This also facilitated a new film being named after an earlier title when the story fitted.

From Bawaal to Pippa: 10 film titles that told us nothing about the movie

Of course, there were rare cases when the titles did not reveal much, but in such examples, the track record of makers and stars helped the films along with the music and publicity. A classic case was Andaz (which can mean any of these—style, guess or estimate), which was a huge hit’s name in 1949, 1971 and 2003, with only a 1994 film being an exception.

In other words, titles give a build-up to a movie, all other things being equal. Quite naturally, poor titles can undo or kill a film, and such examples, sadly, are on the rise in Hindi cinema in the last few years.

This year, some crucial films have lost existing potential or whatever little hope they had of success with such wrong names that were misguidedly given to them. We list the key names below.

This marvelous OTT release featured Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor and was directed by Nitesh Tiwari of Dangal and Chhichhore fame. But the message that this ‘commotion’ (the meaning of Bawaal) was internal for the leading man did not get across, as the film was about an immature man’s transformation into maturity. Many have not even watched the film, and not all understood its title if they did.

The title refers to chits of paper exchanged for cheating during an examination. Essentially a North Indian term, it was meaningless to anyone outside that zone. Unlike Punjabi music where lyrics may not be understood but the beats are enough to dance by for the rest of India, Farrey, despite a nice story and nicer message, could not pass the box-office test.

To twirl in circles, especially in dance—the literal meaning of the Hindi term is barely known to many. This ensured that this sweet, if a shade flawed, R. Balki human drama of a handicapped spin (Ghoomer) bowler and her coach did not win the match at the movies.

Could you imagine that a film with this title would be a story of a turbulent relationship between mother and daughter, with the former going in for dementia? The audience did not even know what the film was all about, and the cast and setup did not allow for media-hype.

Jogira Sara Ra Ra
Now, here was a truly meaningless name to a fun film. For a change, Nawazuddin Siddiqui acted in a light entertainer as the leading man and the earthy wit and humour was all lost to the audience because of the weird title! Few knew about the movie, there were barely any screens or shows allotted to it, and the title did the rest.

A uniquely crafted thriller with a difference, the Manoj Bajpayee film may not have been everyone’s cup of theatrical tea, but a better title could have ensured at least the reception given to a Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai. In this case, Manoj’s presence wasn’t kaafi (enough)!

Among the finest OTT releases of this year, the film had to be perpetuated by word-of-mouth. Kathal is the (little-known) Hindi word for ‘jackfruit’, which played a pivotal role in this delightful satirical thriller. Leading lady Sanya Malhotra may be considered Aamir Khan’s finest discovery to date but is not exactly a star, and that did not help matters. The general reaction was, “Kathal? What’s that? The name of a film?”

How many knew what Pippa is or was? Punjabi slang for an empty tin of ghee that can float in water, it was the name given to an Indian amphibious war tank in the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. The film had little face value, as it featured Ishaan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur (also as siblings, not leads!) and poor music. Just the director having given us the entertaining Airlift was clearly not enough to win this battle.

About grief and healing, with a backdrop of deep-sea diving and aquatic creatures such as the starfish, this film was actually a theatrical release that never had any chances of diving into popular acclaim. The lack of face value helped in ensuring that the film sank.

About the weirdest title among films in 2023, this film featured comic Kapil Sharma in a serious role. Again, the query was, “What? It’s a Kapil Sharma film? And not a comedy? But what does Zwigato mean?”

There were other disastrous names—Faraaz, Hukus Bukus, Darran Chhoo, Mandali and more. But these were films that had little hopes anyway.

Also Read: Bhumi Pednekar eyes OTT debut; says, “My debut on streaming has to be something that’s exciting and different from all the incredible films that I do”


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